Countdown Spectacular 2: Here comes the encore again

It rained all day in Brisbane, so the half-kilometre walk from Boondall station to the Entertainment Centre was a puddle-dodging exercise. That didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd, which seemed to contain a few more people around my age than Newcastle. No-one was likely to assume we were here for an Eminem concert, though.

So what else was different? Well, the most welcome news was that Plastic Bertrand showed up this time, and did ‘Ca Plan Pour Moi’ with massive energy and enthusiasm (“he’s very fit, isn’t he?” the woman next to me remarked). Great stuff, and it kept the momentum up by being inserted in second slot, straight after Katrina.

To make room for this, and presumably for general timing, there were a number of cuts throughout the show. The Radiators dropped ‘No Tragedy’, Supernaut dropped ‘Too Hot To Handle’, and LRB skipped their mystery song I wasn’t sure of.

There were also a few shifts. Redgum got moved to the opening of Act 2 (the same slot Goanna got last year, one might note). I can’t help thinking the women in front of me doing a slow wave with tinsel throughout the song hadn’t quite got the point.

Richard Clapton swapped ‘Girls On The Avenue’ and ‘Deep Water’, and Rick Springfield jumped into the audience for ‘Jesse’s Girl’ rather than ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’.

Pretty much everyone on stage was on vocal form. Sam Fox was even better than before, and Sharon, Kate and Martha continue to astound. Graham Bonnet sounded a tad shouty, and maintained the impression he was reading an autocue.

But by far the biggest change — and the biggest improvement — was the addition of a proper finale, a group rendition of ‘My Generation’. The sight of Kate, Sam and Sharon sharing a microphone isn’t one I’ll forget in a hurry.

Next stop: Sydney on Friday.

Random points:

  • Brisbane Entertainment Centre doesn’t ban cameras, so I’ll upload some piss-poor photos tomorrow.
  • Thanks to Rick Springfield And Us for linking to the Newcastle review.
  • Most artists stuck to their stage outfits, though Sharon O’Neill added purple accents and Robin Scott donned a white T-shirt instead of a red one.
  • The Brisbane audience seemed a tad noisier than Newcastle, though that could be overall crowd size.
  • Ignatius Jones ended his set by proclaiming “Check these tits out, Kevin Rudd!”
  • Molly and Martha repeated their faux marriage proposal, though with a better punchline for Martha’s rejection: “We’d be like the Golden Girls.”
  • Kudos to the event organisers for making sure that an extra train was scheduled for after the show so we could all get home. Newcastle’s once-an-hour service didn’t stretch that far, so I ended up walking back to my hotel, but the city does deserve praise for having lots of street signs — something which I, as an inveterate walker and person with no sense of direction or geographic confidence, can confirm is all too rare.
  • No praise, though, for not opening more doors at the end of the show. It took 10 minutes to clear the corridor, which could have been sliced in half if they hadn’t locked every visible exit.
  • 4 thoughts on “Countdown Spectacular 2: Here comes the encore again

    1. Thanks for your blog on Newcastle .It made the Brisbane show more enjoyable as I knew what was comming
      Just for the record Rick Springfield turns 58 tomorrow!!!

    2. Thanks for your review of this show and the Newcastle one.

      So, my thoughts on the Brisbane show:

      The first half was fabulous, and at interval I was declaring the show to be better than the first one. Unfortunately, the second half was a bit of a letdown. Too many slow songs meant the happy vibe was erased and it was difficult to get back into the mood.

      Best bits:

      * Plastic Bertrand. Ah, how silly that so many people sat there and went “Oooh wee ooh ooh!”

      * The Radiators. A tragedy that they only played one song, especially considering it was the whole band up there. Oh, how I wish they’d done “Give Me Head”

      * Ignatius Jones in that leather outfit – fabulously shocking. And “They Won’t Let My Girlfriend” is such a great song.

      * David Paton gave us all a great sing-along with Magic and January

      * Richard Gower from Racey had me standing up and dancing. Again, it was just good fun.

      * Sharon O’Neill’s “Maxine” is a top song that’s stood the test of time and I think she performed it beautifully.

      * Redgum. Wow. Still such a moving song after all these years.

      * My Sharona – still great.

      * All the Bay City Rollers fans going mental over Les

      * And last but not least: The Angels. Incredible. Their three songs were just so great, although yes, it’s a pity they were cut short. Everybody got into the chorus of “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” with gusto and I found myself realising I was surrounding by wrinkly 40-somethings swearing their head off. How cool. I felt just as naughty as I did in Year 10 when our maths teacher turned off the song and told us how ashamed he was of us all.

      Not so good bits:

      * $9 for parking?!? This is new and a total rip off.

      * The sound levels started off well but were gradually cranked as the night went on, to the point that the last few acts were distorted to buggery. I didn’t even recognise “Don’t Talk To Strangers” because all I was getting was thumping drums and bass. I like a bit of loud music, but not THAT loud. Yes, I’m getting old, but those little auditory hairs in my ears are important to me and I’d like to keep a few of them.

      * Samantha Fox looked great but the performance felt like it had been organised by a sex-mad advertising executive. I can get soft porn dancing on Video Hits, I don’t want it in my nostalgic Countdown concert.

      * Speaking of which… why did we have the stupid dancers again? It’s Countdown, not Solid Gold. They may be very talented but their fake smiles and Britney Spears moves did not belong in the show.

      * Graham Bonnet shouted a lot and was off key.

      * I just don’t think Wa Wa Nee was important enough to warrant 2 songs. Not when the Radiators only did 1. Indeed, it felt a little like nepotisim came into play, especially in the second half. It was really a lineup of Molly’s favourite acts.

      * I wish that LRB had just played a couple of their most popular songs all the way through rather than doing a medly. It would have got the place jumping again.

      * Rick Springfield is still very good looking but I just couldn’t enjoy the music because it was loud and distorted. I wish the Angels had closed the show.

      And I didn’t hang around for the finale because we made a run for the carpark to escape the endless shuffling and traffic jams.

      Oh, and here’s something interesting. I bought cheapie tickets in row Y but they closed the back areas and so we were directed to much better seats. Not sure why but it seems as though they didn’t sell enough tickets. Not sure what that means for any possible future shows.

    3. Hi ! Have you got some photos of Plastic Bertrand ? Could you send me, please ? I am a French fan who is desperate because he ’s too far this time and I can’t see his shows in Australia. Thanks !

      Laika

    4. The Radiators definately got jipped only singing one song and having to cut No Tragedy! While Sam Fox got 2???

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